Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

This book was a wild ride!!! It was another one of my Christmas books and I was very happy to see it! I saw this in the same bookstore as “Hidden Valley Road”, which was Old Town Books in Alexandria, Virginia. This being said, I implore you all to try and patronize your local or independent bookstores as much as you can during this never-ending pandemic. Often books from local or independent sellers can be pricier than Amazon or other larger sellers, but when I have the extra money to do so, I try to think of the higher price as part of an investment in my community. Local bookstores provide so much more for their communities than Amazon can ever do so try to support them if you can! Back to the book! As I mentioned, reading this book is a journey and it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed with some minor misgivings about the author’s style. As a novel about opera singers, it is written as a love story to the art of opera and I would highly recommend listening to the operas or just specific songs as they are mentioned in the book. I didn’t do this and I think my reading would have been richer for doing so because I am not super familiar with opera.

The book follows Lilliet Berne, a fictional soprano from the Fin de Siecle in France. The book follows her recollections of her curious ascent to the heights of operatic fame and the cost of such a journey to herself and others. I loved the story which was inspired by Jenny Lind who ended her career touring America with PT Barnum and his circus. Lilliet’s life is full of twists and turns that were delightful to explore! My only issues with the book were stylistic. Mr. Chee chooses to not differentiate his lines of dialogue from the rest of his prose which can be confusing. I did get used to it eventually but not without irritation on my part. Furthermore, Mr. Chee writes the novel in a mix of past and present which can be jarring but I didn’t take as much umbrage at this as I did with the dialogue. I really loved the story, it absolutely drew me in but I was so frustrated with Mr. Chee’s style at certain points that I almost stopped reading. I’m glad I didn’t because the novel was delicious to devour but future reader, be warned! Happy reading and please support your local bookstore if you can! (My copy of The Queen of the Night was from Vroman’s in Pasadena, a fabulous bookstore that ships nationwide!)

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas

I have a long history with Sarah J. Maas. I think I picked up her first book , Throne of Glass, when I was 12 or 13? I’ve had it on my shelf forever and absolutely adore that book. I haven’t finished catching up on that series which has seven books along with a novella but it was absolutely worth every minute spent reading those books so far. I also dipped my toe into Maas’ next series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, which is fantastic. Maas is an unparalleled writer in the YA world, both for her prolific output and the sheer delight of her novels. I am in the process of finally finishing the Throne of Glass series after a serious hiatus while waiting for the final book and for my college life to slow down and I am super excited for those books. Maas’ most recent novel is a wonder of world-building and action packed romance and I wish I could read again for the first time because I enjoyed it so much!

The novel, Crescent City, mainly follows Bryce Quinlan, a young Half-fae girl haunted by tragedy. Bryce joins forces with the breathtakingly handsome and brooding fallen angel, Hunt Athalar for the opportunity to find the murderer of Bryce’s best friend. Romance and action ensue in a read that took me two days to devour. Bryce and Hunt race through the streets of Crescent City, doing battle with the forces of evil and discovering just what is possible through love. This book is filled with twists and turns to the point of absurdity but I enjoyed every second of it. Maas is a master of fantasy fiction and this book is just proof of her skills. I would recommend this book to fiction and fantasy fans of all ages, although there are some graphic scenes so this one would not have been for twelve-year old me. Happy Reading!

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Three Dark Crowns

Now I’ve wanted to read this series for quite some time but books cost money and it looked like this would be a doozy of a series. I also don’t like to wait in between books so I’ll often wait to purchase parts of a series until the series is almost complete because I have a hard time remembering the details between books. This is the first book in a larger series by Kendare Blake that I believe has just concluded with the book “Queens of Fennbirn”. I saw this book at my favorite secondhand bookstore here in Baltimore, The Book Escape, when it was having a moving sale. I couldn’t wait any longer to start the series so I snatched it up and waited to dive right in. After finishing my last read, I took this off the shelf and dived into the magical world of Fennbirn and its three queens.

The concept driving the book is fascinating. The setting is Fennbirn, right before the beginning of Ascension Year for the three queens of Fennbirn. In Fennbirn, the throne is claimed by whichever of the royal triplets is able to survive the Ascension Year. This translates into an all out battle between the royal siblings and their power bases which are rooted in whatever mystical ability that have inherited. The three camps that dominate the book are the Poisoners who have raised Queen Katharine, the Temple who have raised Queen Mirabella, and the Naturists who have raised Queen Arsinoe. Unfortunately, this being the first in the series, this book really just sets the stage for the grand conflict of the Ascension Year. It draws to a close just as the murderous triplets are unleashed upon each other and the reader is left hanging.

Although the premise of the book sounds awfully gory, it’s more of an exploration of the affect that this impeding fate has upon each of the three sisters. It’s an interesting topic to explore and takes the normal sibling rivalry to an extreme. I did enjoy the book with its lush world building and fleshed out characters and I would recommend it for fans of the “young-adult” genre of books. It’s a good read but be prepared for an investment! Even on Thriftbooks, the whole set of books will cost you close to $60 so if you’re looking to go easy on your wallet, this may not be the best read because once you start, you may not be able to stop!